We join Jesus in the village of Bethsaida where He encounters a blind man. This man is brought to Jesus for his healing and Jesus heals him in a very unusual way.
The first thing I want to know is, who is it that brought the blind man to Jesus? Is it the man’s family or friends? Is it someone wanting simply to see another miracle? I would think it would be someone from my first assumption, but Jesus took the man away from those who brought him before He would heal him. If he was my friend or family member I would want to stay with him. Did Jesus strictly tell those who brought him to stay while He took the man outside the village? But at the end of the healing Jesus told him not to go back into the village, so those who brought him had no knowledge of the healing. Did they follow Jesus out of town with the man?
The second thing to pique my curiosity is why Jesus took him out of the village to heal him. I’m assuming there was a crowd around Jesus. There was always a crowd following Him. Was it something about the crowd that prompted Jesus to remove the man from their presence? Were they “seeking signs” instead of seeking HIm? Were they particularly full of doubt and unbelief? Was it that He didn’t want to show the crowd how He would heal the man’s eyes; by spitting on them? Again, whatever it was that provoked Jesus to remove Himself and he man from the crowd, He carried that separation right through the process and afterwards too. Jesus said to him, “Do not even enter the village” (verse 26) right after his sight was fully restored. Why???? What would have happened if he didn’t listen to Jesus? Would he have “lost” his healing?
The last thing I want to look at is HOW Jesus healed him. To start off, Jesus removes him from prying eyes by taking him by the hand and leading him out of the village. Jesus didn’t leave the task of getting the man out of the village to those who brought him or even to His disciples. He did this personally. He brought him to a place free of distractions where the whole focus could be on the man’s needs.
Then Jesus does something VERY unexpected. He SPITS on the man’s eyes! Were his eyes open or shut at the time? Did Jesus warn him before He spit on him? What did the man think about the feeling of the spit hitting his eyes? I’m going to be a bit graphic here, but was it a little bit of spit, like spray when you are talking, or was it a loogie? Sorry, that question just popped into my mind and I had to ask it. What were the disciples thinking as Jesus did this? Personally I probably would have been standing there with my mouth hanging open in surprise.
Next Jesus puts His hands on the man’s eyes. Right into His own spit too! Jesus’ next act is intriguing to me too. He asked him if he could see anything. Never before has Jesus questioned the recipient about his healing. Jesus simply speaks or prays or whatever and the healing is complete; no questions asked. But Jesus asked this man to test out his healing.
We know from the man’s words that his healing was not complete at this point. We also are shown clearly that this man had previously been able to see. If he hadn’t previously had sight he would not know what trees looked like and therefore would not have compared people to “looking like” them. I wonder how he lost his sight.
Why wasn’t the man’s healing complete? Was this a lesson for the man, or for Jesus’ disciples? My bible helps relates it back to Jesus’ last conversation with His disciples about them not seeing or understanding. I think that question will be another on for our bench time.
Whatever the reason for the partial healing, Jesus didn’t leave the man in this state and say, “Good enough.” He completed the man’s healing. Jesus put His hands back on the man’s eyes and this time when He took them away the man’s sight was fully restored. Quick side note, because of statement that “he opened his eyes” leads me to believe the man’s eyes were closed when Jesus spit and both times Jesus touched them.
After the man’s healing was a COMPLETE, Jesus sent him home. Jesus told him not to enter the village. Apparently he didn’t live in the village but in a nearby home. Where were those who had brought him to Jesus in the beginning? Did they follow him home? Had they been watching? Were they being held at bay by Jesus’ disciples?
Lord Jesus, You amaze me! You don’t do things as expected. You are forever throwing “curve balls.” Were You using this man as an object lesson for Your disciples? Did You explain the lesson to them privately, if it was one? You healed him in private. You used very unique physical interaction. You healed him in stages. And You wouldn’t let him go show those wanting to see a miracle back in the village. Were Your disciples back in the village and were they healing people in Your absence?
I don’t get a lot of “aha” moments or special insight out of this event. I do, however, have a lot of questions generated by it. One thing I do see is that no matter what was going on with the crowd back in town, You didn’t refuse to help the man because circumstances weren’t ideal. You changed the circumstances to fit Your needs. And when the man’s healing wasn’t complete the first time, You didn’t leave him in that state. You saw him through to the very end. You finished what You started. Of THAT I can always be sure. “He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion at the day of Jesus Christ” (Philippians 1:6). Thank You for that promise.